Healthy Reefs for Healthy People Initiative (HRI) is a globally unique international collaborative program of coral reef-focused research, management and conservation organizations dedicated to safeguarding the Mesoamerican Reef (MAR).
Our vision is to improve our scientific understanding of the functioning of the MAR, and enhance its health through management interventions. HRI has engaged over seventy key marine conservation, government, and private sector institutions, coordinating the latest scientific information into management efforts, thereby improving the collective success of all of these important conservation programs. Through our proven and effective use of the media, we are creating a more informed, powerful and dynamic stakeholder base for reef conservation in the MAR.
The main goals of the Healthy Reefs Initiative are to:
- Produce and disseminate collaborative, appealing, politically influential Report Cards and Eco-Audits, founded on sound science and long-term capacity building.
- Advance the potential of management interventions and restoration programs to contribute to improving overall reef ecosystem health
- Promote the integration of robust, standardized ecological and social indicators into management and strategic plans by managers, policy makers and conservation leaders.
- Serve as a regional information hub for managers and the public – enhancing our under-standing of and support for marine stewardship.
Healthy Reefs for Healthy People Initiative at a glance:
- Puerto Morelos, Mexico
- Playa del Carmen, Mexico
- Belize City, Belize
- Guatemala City, Guatemala
- Roatán, Honduras
- Fort Lauderdale, USA
Date of Foundation: 2003
Main Focus: Reef Conservation & Restoration
Volunteering Opportunities: Yes
Extending from the northern tip of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula southward to Belize, Guatemala, and the Bay Islands off the northern Honduran coast, the Mesoamerican Reef Ecosystem contains an amazing biodiversity within its barrier, fringe, patch, and atoll coral reefs, and associated mangroves, lagoons, and seagrass beds. Because of the direct impacts that land-based activities can have on these habitats, our definition of the Mesoamerican Reef Ecosystem includes the watersheds that drain into the Caribbean. Our usage of the term “ecosystem” extends beyond the natural system to include people – the human system.
The Mesoamerican Reef (MAR) supports our culture, fisheries, tourism, coastal protection and biodiversity. The Healthy Reefs Initiative (HRI) collectively and quantitatively assesses reef health and informs science-based management recommendations. For over ten years, we have conducted rigorous science in support of management. Our reliable measures of reef condition allow us to identify the most urgent threats and responses. HRI training workshops continue to strengthen scientific capacity. Our partners are scaling-up and improving management in 47 MPAs spanning almost 60,000 km2. Through our Regional Coral BleachWatch Network, we have quickly mobilized and supported teams of partners across the region to monitor coral bleaching. HRI convenes annual partner meetings, enabling us to achieve a common voice and collectively accelerate conservation action. Together, we have shaped policy, such as protecting herbivorous fish in 3 of 4 countries. It has been over 20 years since the four country leaders signed the historic Tulum Declaration (1997), committing to protect the MAR’s shared resources. Our science-based knowledge and collective management efforts need to be accelerated—particularly to reduce pollution and increase replenishment zones to ensure our reefs will endure and thrive into the future.